Use of public toilet facilities in cafés and bars is usually reserved for customers, so you may need to buy a little something first. Bathrooms are often downstairs and can be unisex, which may mean walking by a men's urinal to reach the cubicle. Turkish-style toilets—holes in the ground with porcelain pads for your feet—are now fortunately scarce. In certain cafés the lights will not come on in the bathroom until the cubicle door is locked. These lights work on a timer to save electricity. Simply press the button again if the lights go out, or move and a sensor will switch it back on. Clean public toilets are available in fast-food chains, department stores, and public parks. Paris also has 400 sanisettes, or public toilet units, located around the city; 150 in hot spots are open 24/7; 220 others are open 6 am to 10:50 pm, and 30 more from 6 am to 1 am. They are free and generally as proper as one could expect, because they self-clean after every use. Some public restroom charge €0.50 to €1.50—but when you gotta go, you gotta pay.

There are restroom attendants in train and métro stations, so always bring some coins to the bathroom. Attendants in restaurants and clubs are in charge of cleaning the bathrooms and perhaps handing you a clean towel; slip some small change into the prominently placed saucer.

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